Thursday, July 14, 2011


Everything was so vibrant and colorful this week! (this picture is missing the potatoes and garlic that were also in the box, woops!)

Cherry Tomatoes
So wonderful! Some varieties include sun-golds, red and yellow plums and purples that are all unique in their own delicate sweet way. They are so good just halved, salted, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic (or any good vinegar of your choice). 

Bok Choy
Bok Choy is a relative of Chinese cabbage and works well in most applications in which cabbage, one of the most under-rated vegetables, is used. Cabbage and bok choy are delicate enough to be shaved thin and served in slaws, but tough enough to withstand braising and even the fermented state of kimchi and sauerkraut. One difference between these two however is the deeper green color at the ends of the bok choy leaves. This is of notable importance when determining whether or not to leave the green leaves or to trim and save them for a method that requires less cooking and or less acidity exposure, which tends to make beautiful green go brown. The green tops are great quickly seared in a hot pan, or even torn or cut into a salad, drizzled with a nice vinaigrette.

These are so sweet naturally that they are great raw and all alone. However,  let's get a little creative with our melon this week and make a cooling granite! The lesson in this method is a subtle idea of sweetening the puree to just barely sweeter than your preferred taste. The reasoning behind this is that sweetness is less detectible in frozen granite. The method for this requires a blender and St-Germain, an elderflower liquor that is light and fruity.

Cantaloupe Granite with St-Germain
1 lb Cantaloupe (peeled and seeded)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (this is where you’ll need to trust your taste after everything is mixed)
¾ cup of water
2 tablespoons St-Germain
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and pour into a freezer-safe casserole dish, cover and freeze. After one hour, uncover and run a fork through the mixture to break apart the ice as it is starting to develop. Recover, freeze for 30 more minutes, and run the fork through it again. Eat it!

Woodland Gardens knows berries!  These blueberries are no exception.  Plump and juicy, these blueberries are always great served raw, but this week you could mix it up and throw them in a pancake mix! My kids love blueberry pancakes!

Beefsteak Tomatoes

Grilled Beefsteak Tomato Salad with Salsa Verde, Roasted Sweet Peppers and shaved Parmesan
Okay so we have served these awesome tomatoes raw with a little vinaigrette, now we’ll try a quick, hot grill lightly brushed with olive oil. We still need to salt these just before serving to keep the juices inside the tomatoes, so don’t jump the gun. These tomatoes are large so slice them at least a quarter of an inch thick just before grilling. The idea is to grill quickly on a hot grill to make sure the tomatoes charred but are not falling apart. Once the slices are nice and charred, pull them off and set them aside. The tomatoes and peppers should be cut into larger pieces for serving to give it a rustic feel.  Just before serving at room temperature mix the grilled tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, and peppers together and salt. Drizzle with a liberal amount of the salsa verde and shave the Parmesan (with a vegetable peeler) on top. The Summer Crisp Lettuce would be nice in this salad as well. This works well as a salad standing alone or next to grilled lamb.

Salsa Verde
1 cup flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
½ cup basil, leaves only, finely chopped
½ cup mint, leaves only, finely chopped
½ cup marjoram, leaves only, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ capers, rinsed well and minced
¼ cup anchovy filets, rinsed and minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup lemon juice
 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil

Place herbs in a bowl and just cover with olive oil.  Add the garlic, capers and chopped anchovies, stir well.  Add the mustard and the lemon juice.  Season and thin with olive oil, if needed.

Summer Crisp Lettuce
Want to try something outside of the box? Try using this lettuce in Dan Barber and Michael Anthony’s Lettuce Soup recipe that showcases the delicate flavor of the lettuce in an amazing and innovative way (available on Food and Wine’s web site). Try gently braising or grilling this stuff but be sure to wash well before using it.  Of course, it’s really awesome in salads!

Sweet Peppers
Roasting peppers can be accomplished in a number of ways. Using the hot grill that we used to grill the tomatoes, lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and put them on a hot section of your grill. Allow the pepper’s skin to char and blister on every side. Once completely charred, set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, the peppers can easily be peeled and de-seeded, leaving the tender red pepper flesh. This is a handy thing to have in your fridge for relishes, sauces like romesco, as an addition to salads, or as a pizza topping.

Here is a great recipes from Saveur for a unique Sweet Pepper Salad. 

Tri-Colored Filet Beans
De-stem, blanch and shock these beans (see older posts on Bean Blanching technique). Green beans of this variety definitely are made tender by wet heat (boiling, steaming. etc) and for this reason they are easier to utilize in the blanched form. These smaller varieties of wax beans are so delicate that they work well in bean salads but are also great in simple bean gratins. 

Red Potatoes
If you have any extra salsa verde left over from the Beefsteak Tomato recipes, toss it with some roasted potatoes. Simple and tasty! Or whip up a potato salad; summer is not complete without potato salad. Everyone has his or her favorite, what’s yours? If you need some help, check out this link from Southern Living for 13 different Potato Salad Recipes.  

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